William LEWIS PARRY

by Gwen PARRY HUFF, daughter

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In the beautiful little country of Wales, Great Britain, lived the family of William Lewis and his wife Elizabeth and their two children, Daniel and Gwenllian. The chief industries were mining and dairying. William worked in the iron works in the day and conducted a sort of funeral arrangement business after work. They were devout Christians in the Methodist Church. Gwen and Dan went to school, and later to night school. Here Gwen met Joseph* Parry and they were married in 1859. To them was born one son, William Lewis Parry, October 23, 1860.

There was much talk about the new world at that time, and Joseph had a desire to emigrate to America where so many were going. Gwen refused to go, and so Joseph joined his four brothers and sailed for New York and later settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Gwen and the baby continued to live in Cefn with her mother, and here the baby grew to young manhood. He started school at the age of four, and when he was eight he was studying foreign languages and music.

When he [William] was 18 years old, Queen Victoria requeste chorus from Cefn to come to the Palace to sing for her on her birthday on May 21. William went with the chorus and spend three hours in the palace. It pleased the Queen so much that she permitted William and some of the others to join the Queen's Royal Navy instead of the regular army. He served in the Royal Navy for four years. He was treated well for those days, because he had pleased the Queen and had been invited to join her sea force which at that time was master of the sea.

William traveled around the world and stopped for long period at the British possessions, and in this way he mastered the languages of many people. During this time, he made several trips to New York, staying as long as three weeks at a time. While in New York, he and his buddies would hunt up all the musical comedy shows they could find. After his release from the Navy, he went back home to Cefn to live with his mother and his grandmother who were living together, and worked in the mines again, this time at the Mt. Ash Iron Works.

Before going into the service, he had knows a little girl living in Pen-yr-hoel-gerrig named Margaret Thomas. He found her grown into a lovely girl of sixteen. They kept company for a few months, but the parents all thought her too young to get married, and would not give their consent. Margaret was working at a dairy, and on her day off, they surprised everyone by getting married. It was in January 1886.

William became a vocal music teacher, teaching sight singing by the sol fa method. Later he added instrumental music and taught harmony and composition. Some of the time he taught languages. All schooling was at night because all the male population worked in the mines in the day time.

Margaret and her family had joined the [LDS] Church many years before. Her mother lived in the Conference House and was a mother to the young missionaries away from home preaching the Gospel in a foreign land. She was called upon so often to give comfort and encouragement to a lonely and homesick boy or man.

Among these boys were two young men about the same age as William. One was Elder D. T. Lewis from Spanish fork, and [the other was] Elder W. D. Harder from Kamas, Utah. They became very good friends, and William and Margaret helped in the cottage and street meetings by leading in the singing and acting as interpreters on occasions.

After the young Elders returned home, William and Margaret had a great desire to come to Zion. So a year later, in the fall of 1890, they left the land of their birth and started for America and Utah. After a journey of three weeks, they landed in Salt Lake City. There these same two missionaries met them. Also Elder Thomas Edwards from Schofield was there, all ready to help them get located. They finally decided to go to Kamas where, with the help of Brother Harder, William took up a quarter section of land to homestead. Their daughter, Gwen, was now four years old and it was very hard to live in this out of the way place.

The farm was composed of some foot hills and some level land in Marion, five or six miles north of Kamas. There were many hardships in living on this homestead. There were no house or equipment, and by now no money. William knew nothing about farming.

In winter, they moved to where ever William could find work in the mines. One winter they lived in Grass Creek, a few miles up the canyon from Coalville. Early in the fall they were snowed in and were unable to get out until April. During this time, the train that carried the coal out was the only way to travel. The train brought all food and other needs.During this time, William organized a Sunday School with a Brother Steadman as teacher. He also worked in Castle Gate and in Schofield. They returned to the farm in the spring of each year until five years had passed and they were able to prove up on the land.

In January 1896, William helped arrange a celebration for that big day when Utah became a State. He wrote the entire program in short hand, which was quite new in Kamas, and caused some comment among the people. The dayÕs program was a big success, taking in every one in Kamas in some way during the day and evening.

William rented the farm to a sheep man by the name of John Hoyt that year and lived in Kamas until after the birth of Margaret, the baby girl, in February 1898. As soon as she was old enough, they moved to Schofield, where William was working in the coal mines. There were five children in the family by then: Gwen, born in Cefn, Wales, and David, Annie, Thomas and Margaret, all born in Kamas.

They enjoyed life in Schofield best of any where in America, until January 1899 when [mother] Margaret died of Typhoid Fever. She was buried in Salt Lake City. The children went back to Kamas to live with relatives, and William returned to Schofield and continued working.

Soon after this, Annie, seven years of age, died at Kamas, and one year later, William met and married Mary Ann Jones and came to Lake Shore to live for the rest of his life, bringing Gwen, 14, and David, 10, with him. The two smaller children stayed with a Grandmother and Uncle at Kamas.

William and Mary Ann made a happy and peaceful home. Many a wayfarer stopped with them for a time to partake of the good feeling and friendly welcome given to every one. William loved Lake Shore. In later years, he believed he had made a mistake by not coming to Spanish Fork that day when they had just arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah. He again had the privilege of working in the Church and filled a mission to England and Wales where he spent much time in his native country. After his return home, he farmed the land a took up his duties in the Church.

In May, 1912, he died, after three weeks illness and is buried in Spanish Fork.

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*On the record of William's sealing to Margaret and his children, he names his father as Thomas PARRY.


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